PETA Says It Will Sue New Jersey Over Deer/Car Accident

On November 16, 2001 People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals activists Dan Shannon and Jay Kelly hit a deer while traveling in an automobile owned by PETA. PETA’s legal counsel, Matthew Penzer, last week faxed a notice to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife declaring their intent to sue the state of New Jersey for contributing to the accident through their deer management practices.

In a press release, PETA outlined its legal strategy,

PETA argues that by placing the interests of hunters, who amount to barely more than 1 percent of New Jersey’s population, above the safety of the more than 8 million New Jersey residents and countless out-of-state travelers who use the roads, wildlife agencies are violating the state’s constitutional mandate to provide protection and security to its people. PETA also opposes the fear, the disruption of herd members’ relationships, and the bloodshed suffered by deer on grounds of cruelty to animals.

In a letter to Bob McDowell, director of New Jersey’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, Penzer wrote that,

. . . shortly before 1 o’clock in the morning on that date [Nov. 16, 2001], while driving a Honda Civic belonging to PETA (and while returning from a PETA campaigning tour) southbond on the New Jersey Turnpike, a deer darted out in front of the car and a collision resulted. . . . Damage to the car was severe, resulting in a repair bill that exceeded $6,000.00 and loss of use of the car for nearly two months. The total amount of damages is, as yet, unkown.

The best way to describe this is frivolous.


<a href="<a href="http:/">PETA">http:/">PETA”>http:/″>PETA“>http:/">PETA</a>”>http:/">PETA”>http:/″>PETA“>http:/″>PETA“>http:/">PETA”>http:/″>PETA“>PETA”>http:/″>PETA“>http:/“>PETA Vehicle Collides with deer, PETA to sue state game agency. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Press Release, February 14, 2002.

PETA Asks State Park Officials to Ban Fishing in State Parks

Over the past couple months, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been sending letters to officials responsible for state parks asking them to ban fishing. The letters are being sent by PETA’s Dan Shannon, and here’s a typical one sent to the North Dakota Parks and Recreation,

October 31, 2001

Doug Perchal

North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department

1835 Bismarck Expressway

Bismarck, ND 58504

Dear Mr. Perchal:

On behalf of PETAÂ’s more than 750,000 members and supporters, as well as the fish, birds, and other animals that make North Dakota state parks their home, we respectfully request that fishing be banned in all North Dakota state parks.

According to an article in U.S. News & World Report (“Parks in Peril,” July 21, 1997), the park system is bending under the pressure of encroachment, underfunding, overcrowding, and pollution. Eliminating fishing and its harmful effects would take some of this pressure off of the parks and their inhabitants.

The violent process of fishing and its consequences do not complement the peace and tranquility of a state park. As you know, fish have a neurochemical system like ours and thus the brain capacity to experience fear and pain. Fish who are torn from the water suffer from being impaled, thrown, stepped on, or mutilated while alive. Many die slowly and painfully from suffocation.

Fishing has other victims, too: In one case among many, a young bald eagle was found by the National Park Service, near death because of injuries to his feet caused by fishing line that had cut through his flesh, resulting in a systemic infection and intense suffering. He required intensive daily care for three months before he was successfully released. Not all animals are as lucky. Millions of birds and other animals suffer, and many die, from injuries caused by discarded fishing hooks, monofilament line, lead weights, and floats. Animals who become entangled in fishing line are often trapped underwater and drown or, unable to feed, die slowly of starvation. In fact, many wildlife rehabilitators tell us that fishing litter is the single greatest cause of injuries to aquatic animals.

North Dakota state parks have already made the compassionate choice to ban hunting, and we are asking you to take the next step. Fishing is just hunting in the water. The tide is turning on sportfishing with the widespread recognition of the sentience of fish and the desire to live a more compassionate, less harmful life. After reading the enclosed materials, we hope you will make the decision to ban fishing in North Dakota state parks and turn them into true havens for all.

Please contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your consideration.


Dan Shannon

“Fishing Hurts” Campaign

Not surprisingly, PETA does not seem to be having much success. As a spokesman for Missouri’s State Parks told the St. Louis Dispatch after it received a letter from Shannon, “I can’t see any circumstances ever where parks wouldn’t open for fishing.”

In fact, while many Americans might be ambivalent about hunting, fishing remains very popular. In a Harris poll of Americans which asked people to rank their favorite leisure activities, fishing came in 3rd tied with spending time with family and kids, and behind only reading and watching television.


PETA faces uphill battle on fishing issue. Tim Renken, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 29, 2001.

Reading, TV, Spending Time with Family, Gardening and Fishing Top List of Favorite Leisure-Time Activities. Humphrey Taylor, Harris Interactive, August 8, 2001.

PETA Hopes to Sink Fishing in North Dakota State Parks. Dan Shannon, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Press Release, October 31, 2001.

PETA Pulls Its Pro-Shark Ads

Reuters reported that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals decided to pull its pro-shark ad campaign which featured a billboard that asked, “Would You Give Your Right Arm To Know Why Sharks Attack, Could it Be Revenge?” The billboard was a crass attempt by PETA to cash in on the publicity surrounding the shark attack on 8-year-old Jessie Arbogast.

PETA spokesman Dan Shannon told Reuters,

Our message is that humans kill billions of fish, including sharks, each year, in the most hideous ways, and sharks aren’t really to blame for doing what comes naturally, because, unlike us, they don’t have choices when it comes to what to eat. But right now people would just shoot the messenger without hearing the message.

Live by public relations disasters, die by public relations disasters. Now PETA needs to come clean about whether or not the Ranger who fire four shots into the shark that attacked Arbogast was morally justified in doing so.


Animal rights group pulls be-kind-to-sharks ad. Reuters, September 4, 2001.

It Was Only A Matter of Time — PETA's Latest Billboard Exploiting Shark Tragedy

Back in July, I noted that it was odd that animal rights activists had not come out to defend the shark who attacked and almost killed Jessie Arbogast. Apparently People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was just temporarily distracted, because this month they unveiled a new billboard wit the tagline, “Would you give your right arm to know why sharks attack? Could it be revenge?”

On its web site, PETA likens the pain and suffering endured by Arbogast after the attack to what sharks experience when fishers catch them. According to PETA,

The recent injuries suffered by shark attack victims offer us a glimpse into the terrifying experience these fish endure when they are hauled out of their environment only to be pitch-forked back into the water after their fins have been sliced off. While their fins are made into “delicacies” such as shark-fin soup, the sharks either suffocate or slowly bleed to death.

PETA says that readers can help sharks avoid this fate by going vegetarian, but conveniently forgets to mention that shark finning is already effectively illegal in the territorial waters of the United States thanks to a law signed by Bill Clinton in December 2000. Australia also banned shark finning last year.

Dan Shannon, the coordinator of PETA’s anti-fishing campaign, told The Sun Herald that the animal rights group intends to “capitalizes on a news story, which is current right now, and that is Jessie Arbogast.”

Ironically Shannon added that “obviously our prayers are with him [Arbogast],” but if PETA had its way many of the cutting edge techniques used to keep Arbogast alive and treat his injuries would have been impossible since they were pioneered with animal research.

The microsurgery techniques used to try to reattach Arbogast’s right arm, for example, would have been all but impossible to develop without extensive development and testing with animals — exactly the sort of research that PETA regularly criticizes the medical research community for conducting.


Shark Finning Banned in U.S. Waters. Cat Lazaroff, Environment News Service, December 27, 2000.

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back into the Water. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, web page.

PETA capitalizing on Jessie’s attack. Reni Winter, The Sun Herald, August 30, 2001.